By Emily Edwards

Every summer I collect seashells with my mom. We have shared this simple tradition for as long as I can remember. The shell searching begins when the beach is in its natural state and all human evidence from the previous day is gone, just after sunrise

With a salty breeze blowing our hair, and cool water caressing our ankles, we rush to grab a shell before it gets washed back into the sea. We repeat this process over and over until our hands are overflowing with shells.

I don’t really know how looking for shells became a tradition, but I am thankful it did. The vastness of the ocean is overwhelming in comparison to the serenity of the empty shore. We are usually the only two in sight, which makes the memories more special. Sometimes we talk the entire time, laughing and splashing our way down the coastline. Sometimes we walk in complete silence, both deeply lost in thought.

While looking for shells this summer, I had the realization that seashells are like people. Each one is different, yet perfect in its own way.  Some are small, funky-shaped, different colors and broken, but beautiful nonetheless.

I always look for the perfect shell the one free of cracks, chips and stains. When I find a shell unworthy of keeping, I throw it back in the water, but then I think about how our heavenly Father keeps a hold of each of us regardless of our marks and scars. There really is no perfect shell, just like none of us are perfect. We all have apparent flaws, but we are cherished by Him like a perfect shell, held carefully in the palm of His hand.

Tossed and turned in sand and waves, shells are shaped by the sea like we are carefully crafted by our Creator. I believe that God molds each one of us into the unique individual He intends for us to be. How amazing is it that every single part of us is intricate and that we are a reflection of his image? There is no one reaching down in the sand and choosing the best of us based on our appearance or flaws. We are all chosen by God and he will never toss us back in the water.

If you feel less than worthy, remember that our marvelous Creator knows exactly who you are. He knows you by name and knows the exact number of hairs on your head.

Matthew 10:29-31 says, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

My little epiphany about seashells and people is just one small way I see the power of Christ and how amazing He truly is. The simplest things can teach us big lessons. I am trying to pay more attention to detail and appreciate little moments that are solely there because of our Lord. In a fast-paced world, it’s hard to slow down and meticulously examine each shell for its own uniqueness.

I am challenging myself, and you, to thank God for the daily glimpses of beauty he reveals. He is everywhere and in everything. We just have to realize it.

Photo by Emily Edwards